The retail world looks different now and there's a lot of uncertainty. Instead of highlighting the absurd products we normally do, we're looking instead at some of the things in the industry that made us smile.
This week, Zappos piloted a program to give consumers more options in how they purchase shoes, a Toronto-based company rolled out a new product to help ease consumers minds when traveling by air and Burger King tapped the Yodeling Kid to help promote its new campaign.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Retailers introduce inclusive apparel collections
Shoe retailer Zappos this week introduced a new offering to cater to more individuals dubbed the Single and Different Size Shoes Test Program. The program, which launched Tuesday on the retailer's Zappos Adaptive website, gives consumers the option to purchase a single shoe or shoes in different sizes.
The program is initially debuting as a test, featuring just a handful of styles and brands, including Nike, Billy Footwear, Converse, Stride Rite, Plae and New Balance. The hope, though, is that it will expand its style and color offerings through more brand partnerships.
"I'm so excited about this program," comedian, author and Para-athlete Josh Sundquist said in a statement. "As an amputee, I've never been able to buy a single shoe before, so this is a game-changing moment for amputees and people with disabilities."
The program caters to everyone from toddlers to adults, the company said, and shoes are priced between $17.50 and $85.
Other companies in recent years have also launched products with inclusivity in mind. Target last year introduced its Hyde & EEK! Boutique, which featured adaptive and sensory-friendly Halloween costumes for kids. And on Monday, the mass merchant announced the collection would be making its return this Halloween season, and will include costumes for adults as well.
"Whether you're simply getting dressed every day or dressing up for special moments like Halloween, everyone deserves to feel included and celebrated," Julie Guggemos, Target's senior vice president and chief design officer, said in a statement. "And at Target, we know that great, inclusive design makes all the difference."
The collection, which includes robots, dragons, space travelers, mermaids and unicorns, features design elements like open backs, hidden openings and pockets for abdominal access, removable accessories and wheelchair-friendly fits.
Startup launches hazmat-like suit for pandemic-era travel
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, many travel plans were put on pause as governments enacted shelter-in-place orders, and consumers were wary of flying in a relatively small, enclosed capsule with other people.
But by mid-April, Vyzr Technologies — which was founded by two siblings in response to "the lack of innovative and effective Protective Personal Equipment (PPEs) available to the public in the face of a global pandemic" — launched a new product dubbed the Biovyzr 1.0.
The product, which resembles a hazmat suit, is designed to protect against aerosol-transmitted pathogens, according to the company. Vyzr Technologies launched a campaign on IndieGogo for interested consumers to preorder the product.
The company said the shield was designed with an anti-fog face shield, a quiet fan, three airflow settings, a 12-hour rechargeable battery and N95 filters, among other things. And the product only weighs 2.8 pounds.
Co-founder Yezin Al-Qaysi told Bloomberg, though, that the company itself isn't sure how TSA or airline staff will react to it, but that hasn't stopped consumers from expressing interest. The company has raised close to $550,000 and has more than 1,500 backers.
CDC Director Robert Redfield this week hailed the effectiveness of masks, saying that if every American wore one, the COVID-19 crisis could be under control within four to eight weeks. This week, major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Best Buy, made announcements that they will require customers to wear masks while shopping in their stores, even in locales where government mandates aren't in effect.
The Vyzr Technology product costs $249, and while we can't say how effective it is, at the very least it'll serve as a nice (if not expensive) astronaut Halloween costume if you're in the market for that.
Burger King's new video aims to educate about the harmful impacts of cow gas
Burger King on Tuesday released a new video that aims to educate consumers on the harmful environmental impacts of the beef industry. The video stars Mason Ramsey, better known as the "Walmart Yodeling Kid."
The fast-food chain in its announcement cites United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization data, stating that 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from methane released from livestock as a by-product of their digestion.
Burger King, in partnership with scientists, said it developed a new diet for cows, which according to the company, reduces up to 33% of methane released from cows daily.
"At Burger King, we believe that delicious, affordable, and convenient meals can also be sustainable," Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer of Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International, said in a statement. "We are making all our findings public. This an open source approach to a real problem. If the whole industry, from farmers, meat suppliers, and other brands join us, we can increase scale and collectively help reduce methane emissions that affect climate change."
To coincide with the educational video, the burger chain is selling Reduced Methane Emissions Beef Whoppers in select Miami, New York, Austin, Portland and Los Angeles locations.